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How to Get the Kitchen of Your Dreams

Kitchens usually sell houses but not in my case. My husband and I just purchased a new (but older) home. I love everything about this home except for the kitchen. The kitchen was original to the 20+ year old home. My husband promised me that we could get a new kitchen if I could get it done under $10,000. I told him there was no way I could get it done. He said if I wanted it bad enough, I would find a way. I was determined to get my dream kitchen in my dream house. Here's how I got it done.

Know what you want. I spent hours on Pinterest, reading magazines and watching a lot of HGTV. I quickly knew what I liked and didn't like. I printed out a lot of pictures and put together a vision board for my kitchen.

Be your own general contractor. The worst thing you can do is hire one person to handle your entire project. They're not going to shop around and find the best deals for you. You will save thousands by doing the "shopping" yourself. I shopped for cabinets, counter tops and installers separately.

Measure up. I picked up measuring tape and measured every nuke and cranny of my original kitchen. There are tools at the home stores and online that will help guide you get the measurements you need.

Stay organized. I put together a kitchen remodel tote bag. The bag included a binder with all my ideas and notes along with a folder with quotes from vendors, measuring tape, painters tape and samples that I've collected. Every time I had a meeting, I brought the bag with me.

MORE: 5 Ways to Survive Home Renovation With Kids

Get your DIY on. Think about what you and your partner can do yourself. I never knew my husband was so handy until we had to work on this kitchen. He demo-ed the kitchen, installed faucets and garbage disposals. I'm happy to report they are still working. The demo alone saved us major coins.

Ask for referrals. I called everyone that I knew that had some work done to their house if they could give me a referral. I also hung out at the home stores quite a bit because we needed other things from the new home. When I saw guys that looked like a "worker dude" as my daughter calls them, I asked them what they did and if they had a card.

Buy wholesale. When I asked some of these "worker dudes" where their clients would get their kitchen cabinets from, I learned about home surplus stores and wholesalers. I could have easily used Google but I didn't even know these places existed!

Recycle what you have. If your cabinets are in good shape, think about painting them for an update or replacing the door fronts. If you like your floor plan, keep it. When you start busting down walls, that adds more money.

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Be flexible. You may have to settle on a few things. You may have to pick an alternate cabinet style to buy what's in stock. Or even settle for un-painted cabinets like I did. Keep your eye on the prize, a new kitchen!

Take your time. I almost got caught up with this because I've been pregnant during my kitchen project. I wanted a full functioning kitchen within two weeks. That didn't happen and cash started to run low. You may have to wait to put money back in the pot to finish out certain areas of your project. You'll still be happy with the progress you have made.

My kitchen is not 100% complete, but it is 100% better than where we started!

Images via Trina Small

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